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Speaking of Stories Rings In New Year with 12th Night Celebration

Hosts Carolyn Butcher and Michael Perry open up their home for the event, featuring a reading by actor Joe Spano of 'The Kitchen Child'

Featured performer and actor Joe Spano with hostess Carolyn Butcher, who opened her home for Speaking of Stories’ 12th Night event. Click to view larger
Featured performer and actor Joe Spano with hostess Carolyn Butcher, who opened her home for Speaking of Stories’ 12th Night event. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Speaking of Stories presented its 12th Night celebration event with a dramatic reading by actor Joe Spano of the short story “The Kitchen Child” in a salon-type setting in host Carolyn Butcher and Michael Perry’s historic home in downtown Santa Barbara.

The mission of Speaking of Stories is to promote the appreciation of literature through live theatrical readings and through educational programs aimed particularly toward at-risk youth.

Made famous by the William Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night marks the end of the Christmas season. In Christianity, Twelfth Night is a holiday on Jan. 5 that marks the 12th and final night of the Christmas season.

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the 12 days beginning on the night of Christmas and ending on Epiphany (Jan. 6), where, according to the Bible, the Three Wise Men visited the newly born Jesus and bestowed their gifts.

In the Middle Ages, this December period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season celebrated with the fun, frivolity and feast before embarking on the new year.

This certainly was the case for the Speaking of Stories event. The long dining room table was laden with delicious hors d’oeuvres and delectable desserts with a traditional Wassail cake placed at the table’s center. The raisin and apple rich cake was enjoyed after the performance.

Speaking of Stories executive director Teri Bolt with founder Steve Gilbar.
Speaking of Stories executive director Teri Bolt with founder Steve Gilbar. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

The interior courtyard served as the wine bar and conversation area, which also had heaters provided to ward off the evening’s chill and occasional raindrops. Luc Bonhomme from Carlsbad-based Loire Valley Wines poured a variety of French wines.

After the social hour, the program began in the beautiful living room with nearly 70 guests seated “salon style” to hear the reading by Spano.

In keeping with the 12th Night theme, the crowd joined together in singing the 1850 English tune “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” which got everyone the New Year’s holiday spirit. The song was led by vocalist Yvonne Bazinet, who also performed a closing song.

Artist director Maggie Mixsell selected the humorous story “The Kitchen Child” by author Angela Carter, which had an appreciative audience chuckling throughout the reading by the talented Spano.

“We have two great shows coming up on Jan. 22 and 23,” executive director Teri Ball told Noozhawk. “We start our 2017 season with ‘Nothing But Laughs,’ which features a reading by renowned actress Meredith Baxter.

“The following Saturday, Jan. 28, we have ‘Breakfast with Smartasses,’ a co-production with Dramatic Women, a reading of five new plays by five sassy women!”

The 2017 season includes five shows scheduled for Jan. 22-23, Feb. 26-27, March 26-27, April 23-24 and May 21-22.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets, or call 805.963.0408.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

The living room provided a salon-like setting for the event and Joe Spano’s reading. Click to view larger
The living room provided a salon-like setting for the event and Joe Spano’s reading. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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